Spotlight Post #3

For my Spotlight #3 Post, I’m choosing to write about the effectiveness of psychotherapy versus the use of medications to treat major depressive disorder. I found a lot of different articles that gave good arguments for both sides. One article written on WebMD titled “Talk Therapy vs Meds for Major Depression,” mentioned that many studies showed that patients were equally helped by both forms of treatment, however, people mentioned that patients are a lot less likely to go for psychotherapy unless it was suggested by their doctor. So while it was shown that people were equally helped by both forms of treatment, more people choose to take medication because that is the form that is suggested by their doctor more often. Another article I read came from the Mayo Clinic. It also said that both forms of treatment are effective, and also listed some cons of taking medications. It said that taking anti-depressants can cause physical dependence to the medication so if the patient stops taking their medication for any reason, they can experience withdrawal-like symptoms and their depression could worsen. Another potential risk to young adults is increased suicidal thoughts while taking anti-depressant medications; it is usually a result of a changed dosage. While medications can help with physiological problems like serotonin imbalances, psychotherapy can helps with a patient’s behavior. It can turn a behavior that is negatively affecting the person’s depression and redirect them into a positive behavior. Another article that I read titled, “Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict Is In,” was definitely advocating more for the use of psychotherapy than for antidepressants. They gave support for their argument by citing all the potentially harmful side effects, including how it is possible for people to overdose on their medication if taken with alcohol. The next article that I read gave some pros and cons of medication versus psychotherapy. The article gave a few reasons that people normally choose antidepressants over psychotherapy. One reason was that people usually see faster results from taking medication over going to therapy; it can take six to eight weeks longer for someone to start to see positive results. Also, psychotherapy alone is not usually enough to treat someone that has severe depression so medications are usually required. As far as credibility, I think the articles from WebMD and the Mayo Clinic are credible sources. They cite information taken from academic journals to back up their claims. As far as the last two articles go, I do not think they are as credible as the first two. It does not mean that the information that they are giving necessarily is wrong, the pages just have not been reviewed by medical professionals. I personally believe that people should try psychotherapy before they decide to take antidepressants because they could potentially be helped without adding chemicals to their body. I am not a fan of taking medications, or even getting vaccines because sometimes I think doctors go overboard with prescribing medications, especially when there is potentially another treatment that could be effective in helping their patient. I do not think it is always healthy to add all the extra chemicals to your body unless it is necessary.



1st Impression Post- Mental Health Treatment

For this week’s first impression post I chose to do option two which looked at Michelle Obama’s mental health awareness campaign. The webpage has a really nice design and plenty of options to choose from, but as far as its effectiveness, I am not too sure. Yeah, its nice to have websites like these out there, and yeah it may be helpful for some, but a lot of people that have mental health problems do not want to admit they need help. So the people that really need the help most likely will not go looking for this webpage to find it. They will most likely go to people they care about. I do not think this campaign is bad; I think there should definitely be more awareness about mental health because there shouldn’t be a stigma around it like there is now. If the campaign helps one person who is in need of help, then I think that it should be a campaign worth keeping. It shows different ways that people are reaching out to bring awareness, and it has a page that is devoted to people pledging to know the five signs of emotional suffering and to change the culture surrounding mental health, mental illness, and wellness. You can make the pledge as just a single person or you can sign it with more people as part of a group. Overall, I think it is a good start for the campaign, but I think they have a lot more to do to bring awareness to many more people.

Media Production Project

Midlife crises… Real epidemic or completely fictional? No matter who you are, where you live, or what your occupation is I am sure you have heard of people that have experienced a midlife crisis. Whether you believed they existed or not, one study performed by researcher at Dartmouth College and the University of Warwick went out to determine the validity of midlife crises. After some careful research they discovered a general trend to their data, and people in fact were experiencing a psychological low on average between the ages of 30-50 (Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A.). The study was conducted online, it asked questions about the person’s overall happiness as well as life satisfaction. Their data was collected from over one million randomly sampled citizens from countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, thirty-six other European countries, and fifty-one other nations from around the world (Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A.). Along with these datasets, they received statistics from the UK Office of National Statistics and the US Centers for Disease Control. The information was then analyzed using two separate methods: a descriptive approach and a ceteris-paribus analytical approach. A descriptive approach is only taking into account well-being and age, while the ceteris-paribus approach takes into account a number of socio-economic influences that could have an effect on a person’s well-being besides age, such as a person’s health and income. It was important that the researchers include these other factors because age is not the only thing that influences a person’s well-being. Once the researchers collected their data, they noticed that the data was plotted in a U-shaped pattern which means that their data proved that there is a significant decrease in life satisfaction during the middle of a person’s lifetime. This is a pretty depressing thought… there is nothing that you can do, right? Well, there have been a few other studies that have found conflicting results, so the argument is not unanimous across the board (Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A.). There are researchers whose data did not find any significant decrease in happiness throughout a person’s lifetime. We may be in luck!  


After these projects, I have gained a newfound respect for journalism. I used to always think that journalists conveniently changed stories to fit their own agenda. While I still think that is the case in some situations, I now realize how hard it is to compile information from a ten or more page academic journal into a well-rounded, five-hundred word article. Sometimes it is just impossible to try to include everything. It’s is hard to decide what is important enough to include and what is okay to be left out so the writing can be condensed. I had to make the choice to leave out a couple of details; my original article was about five-hundred words, but it focused a lot of the article on the U-shaped curve and what it is. While this was the focus in the pop culture article, it was not the main focus in the scholarly article, so I did not think it was necessary to include as much information about that subject. In the scholarly article, it went into more detail about the two different methods they used to analyze their research. I think this is important because there were a variety of factors that could have influenced their results, such as income which would had skewed their results. So in order for the audience to know that these factors were considered when writing this article, I thought more of the word count should have been devoted to explaining the two methods and why each one was beneficial.

Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (August 2017). “Do Humans Suffer a Psychological Low in Midlife? Two Approaches (With and Without Controls) in Seven Data Sets.” 1-24. Retrieved November 1, 2017. <file:///C:/Users/Alana/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/For%20Alana.pdf>.

Soergel, Andrew. “Study: Happiness is a U and Middle Age is Depressing.” U.S. News, 22 Aug. 2017. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017. <>.

1st Impression Post- Mental Illness

For this week’s first impression blog post, I chose to write about option one. This option was about what daily life is like for a person with schizophrenia. From watching movies and seeing different news on the media, I thought it was going to be a lot worse than the video actually was. Movies and the media always show people with schizophrenia to be very violent towards others. In this video, however, the voices in the person’s head were sort of just arguing with each other. They would say one thing and then contradict themselves. One second they would talk about what the person was seeing, but then you could hear a bunch of random words in the background. Before the schizophrenic episode, they seemed normal. They were just going about their normal morning ritual, just like everyone does. They heard kids playing outside and it was bright and sunny. Once the episode started, they could not think clearly. They thought it was storming when it really was not. They started thinking that the tv host was talking directly to them and that people were coming to get them. As soon as the woman arrived to house and spoke to the individual, they sort of snapped out of the schizophrenic episode. Things started to return back to normal. I think the media gives people misconceptions on what schizophrenia really is. Not everyone reacts the same way and experiences the same symptoms with this mental illness. The media should do a better job at depicting the illness and what it means for people that have it.

Thanksgiving 1st Impression Post- Motivation

For this weeks first impression post, I chose to write about option one which was about an emerging problem in America: orthorexia. A couple years ago, I would have never thought that this would be a problem because healthy eating habits seemed pretty much inexistent in America. It is not only until recently, when I started changing my lifestyle to eat healthier and exercise more often that I discovered how seriously people take their eating habits. My healthy eating involves not eating quite as much bread and not eating ice cream every single night, but I found a lot of people, especially on social media that go as far as to count macros on everything that they eat. That seems too time consuming to me. The criteria to be diagnosed for orthorexia seem like they could be very detrimental to a person’s health. It’s good to eat healthy, but when it starts to consume your every thought, and you stress about what will happen to you if you stray from your strict diet, it is no longer healthy. You can not just cut out entire food groups and expect to stay healthy, even things like fats you need in moderation for normal bodily functions. I think orthorexia should be something that patients can be clinically diagnosed with just like someone can be diagnosed with anorexia. It causes negative problems to the person not only physically, but also mentally. It affects a person’s self image which can lead to other problem like depression and should be taken seriously.

Johari Window- Extra Credit Bonus Prompt

The Johari Window was a fun assignment. It not only made me reflect on my own personality it also gave me insight on what other people think about me as well. I just emailed the link to a bunch of my friends and I had eleven people respond to the quiz. I picked the words caring, friendly, relaxed, introverted, shy, and spontaneous. Out of all of those only half were chosen by others: caring, friendly, and relaxed. I sort of expected this though because while I do not act shy around my friends and family, I am not always the most comfortable in a group setting. I just find it very stressful. I do not really talk about it a lot though so it is not something that I thought people would choose. Some of the other words chosen were accepting bold, brave, calm, cheerful, confident, dependable, dignified, happy, idealistic, independent, intelligent, kind, knowledgeable, logical, loving, mature, patient, self, assertive, sentimental, silly, sympathetic, trustworthy, and warm. Overall, it was sort of like a confidence boost because everything that everyone said was very nice. Some of the words I did not think people would choose, like dignified, but when I sat down and thought about the words in relation to my personality I could see many of the words in my personality. I think people chose different words than I did because we view ourselves different and criticize our own flaws a lot harder than others do. It was just interesting to see how other people can view you differently than you view yourself. 

Spotlight Blog #2- Intelligence

There are many controversies over what is the best way to teach children. One recent controversy that has been brought to the public’s attention is whether or not year-round schooling could be beneficial. This is a hot topic; there are many people that are strongly in favor of laws that support this, but there are also many people that are skeptical about changing the system. It is known that other countries besides the United States utilize year-round schooling but would it work in the US? An article titled “Research Spotlight on Year-Round Education” from the National Education Association mentioned some pros and cons. The pros included increased retention rates due to a shorter time away from school, efficient use of school space so buildings would never be left unoccupied, and remediation can occur during the school year. Some of their cons included scheduling conflicts with extracurricular activities, scheduling conflicts if the whole district does not adopt year-round education and a parent has children that go to more than one school, and no research suggests that year-round education is beneficial for students.

Another article titled, “Year-Round Schooling Explained” also weighed the pros and cons of year-round education. They emphasized that going to school all year long with frequent breaks could actually relieve stress for students and teachers and prevent burnouts. They believe that even though students would be going all year long, there would be enough breaks that it would not drain the kids. For their cons they added to the list that tourism could suffer because in the summer months when families usually go on vacations, their children will still be in school so they will be less likely to go and in turn will negatively affect tourism. Also, high schoolers could have difficulty finding jobs because instead of one big break that lasts a couple months, their breaks only last a couple weeks at a time.

The next two articles I found on the same website; they were written by the same person, but each argued a different opinion. The first article, “Top 3 Reasons the US Should Switch to Year-Round Schooling,” claims that year-round schooling will actually decrease obesity among children. They believe that over the summer is when kids gain the most weight because instead of playing outside with friends, many kids are turning to video games for entertainment. Whether or not there is a connection between year-round education and obesity is still unknown because there is no conclusive evidence from research. In the article, “3 Reasons Not to Adopt Year-Round Schooling,” the author argued that year-round school would actually end up costing the tax payers more money. This is because the schools would have to pay more for air conditioning over the summer months than they are currently. After looking at all the information, I do not think year-round schooling is overly beneficial for students and taxpayers. Sort of like the saying “if it’s not broke don’t fix it,” I do not think there is anything wrong with the current system. I do not think young kids in elementary school could handle going year round because when I was little, I always looked forward to summer vacation. Sometimes kids need to just get away for awhile from all the schoolwork, and I do not think a week here and there would be enough time for the kids to de-stress from all the work.




Week 11 First Impression Post- Personality

For this week’s first impression post, I took all four of the personality tests. I was very skeptical about taking these kinds of tests in the past because I doubted their credibility. Now that took each of them, I think I doubt their accuracy even more so. Well… some more than others. The first test said I was an introvert and the third said I was more of an extravert. I found the third test to be the closest to how I would describe myself. It said that I was slightly extroverted, ranked high on emotional stability, agreeableness, and imagination. The one area I scored low in was conscientiousness. I scored a one which means that according to this quiz I am very impulsive and disorganized. I tend to make last minute decisions and am definitely not a planner. I am not a very organized person either, but I have been trying to improve on this. The last quiz where you just chose color blocks I do not find very reliable. I just randomly chose colors by which ones I liked the best so I do not know how this can tell my personality. Color preferences could be different between genders and ages, and could have nothing to do with the personality traits of the person. The results of that test seemed a lot like reading a horoscope. They were generalized and I felt like they could apply to a bunch of different people. For these reasons, I find the third test the most reliable out of all of them, and the last test the least reliable.

First Impression Post- Week 10

For this week’s first impression post I chose to write about option 2. For this option I will be discussing my opinion on violent videogames among children. I have a younger brother, he is thirteen years old. My mom never let him play video games that are violent because she thought it was inappropriate for a kid his age to be playing. When he comes home from school he always says he does not know why he can’t play certain videogames that his friends are playing. He says that kids even younger than him are playing games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. I have seen people play these games and they are downright gory between all the shooting and stabbing. Whoever gets the most “kills” wins the game. Should kids really be getting rewarded for killing people? Even if it is not real, and it is “just a game” as a lot of people say, I still say the answer is no. I don’t think games like that are necessary, or safe to be showing children. If children start playing violent videogames when they are young, they can become less affected by the violent images and become more likely to become violent as they grow up because they are used to seeing violence in their life. What is wrong with playing normal videogames like old school Pac-man or something? I am not a big video gamer, but after all the gun violence that has been occurring in our country I think banning violent games should be a no brainer.

Week 8 First Impression Post- Emotion

For this week’s first impression post, I decided to choose option two which was about reading people’s facial expressions in order to determine how they are feeling. I thought the test would be easy and I would get all twenty of them correct with no problem. This was not the case. I only got a fourteen out of twenty; it was a lot harder than I had anticipated it would be. Some of the faces I could definitely tell apart like love and sadness, but when I looked at some of the other faces, some were a lot harder to distinguish. Some were very similar like love and flirtatious. Embarrassment and sadness also looked very similar. Overall, it was just hard to determine how the person was feeling by just looking at their facial expressions. If I would have known the context of the facial expressions and could have spoken to them, it probably would have helped determine their emotion. The test does not seem that credible to me because everyone’s facial expressions can be slightly different for the same emotion. Also, people can feel a certain emotion, but react with a different facial expression depending on the situation that they are in. The test seems like a good idea because being able to identify the emotion behind a person’s facial expressions in everyday life is very important. I just do not know if this test is the best way and most accurate way to decide whether you can correctly identify people’s emotions in everyday life.